Monday, February 1, 2010

Issues of Life: Is My Faith Absent If I Go to the Doctor When I'm Sick?

Is My Faith Absent If I Go to the Doctor When I'm Sick?

     Praying Hands by Albrecht Durer courtesy of Wikipedia

    This is a sensitive and controversial issue in some Christian churches. Why? Because many Christians believe that faith in healing is compromised when the sick seeks medical treatment or even take medication. Also, Spirithome.com's web page says, "The problem is that many Christian churches teach: if you're ill and it doesn't go away with prayer, then it must be cause by unconfessed sin or the absence of faith" and they add to that, "Baloney!". What's more? When a Christian dies of illness after being prayed over by the entire church, there is the question "Why?" evident in the faces of the people who prayed (although they try not to show it). 

     Last year, I watched a program of the Casey Treat Ministries on Daystar TV which made me truly interested in this topic. Casey Treat and his wife were talking about his    battle against Hepatitis C and so I researched about him and his victory over this disease.


                                                                                                           

All photos courtesy of Wikipedia
   
     Casey Treat and his wife Wendy have been pastoring a congregation of 8,000 members in Seattle. In  the story written by Shannon Woodland "Casey Treat: Use Every Endeavor to Heal Yourself"  on CBN.com's web page, Hepatitis C was described as a slow-growing virus, likely introduced to his blood stream during Casey's teenage years abusing himself with I.V. drugs. The doctors said that he had only 4% chance of clearing the virus and that his liver will fail in 4 years-time and probably he could die. As a pastor, he prayed, and his family and congregation prayed for him as well; they all trusted on God for his healing. However, one of the doctors shared a scripture from Proverbs 18:9 in the Amplified version: "He who is loose and slack in his work is brother to him who is a destroyer and he who does not use his endeavors to heal himself is brother to him who commits suicide". And so Pastor Casey Treat was treated with a double dose of chemotherapy and other medicines and experienced the common side effects of the treatment--nausea, fatigue, hair loss and weight loss. He also stuck with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and drank lots of water and visited the chiropractor regularly. The virus cleared in the first month of treatment but since Hepatitis C can hide and return much stronger, he continued his regimen. 

     "Use every endeavor to heal yourself" means using medicine, prayer, faith, doctors, treatment, chiropractic care and naturopathic care--use it all, according to the CBN article. Pastor Casey said, "I think sometimes we take the 'either-or' approach: Should we trust God or should I use medicine?" He said to him that was like asking, "Should I trust God or eat healthy?" "Let's do both", he said.

     Spirithome.com says "All healing is, in some way, divine healing. We can speak of 'natural' processes for healing but God created nature. How our body tissues repair itself and our immune system work are all part of God's design and what God intended for us. Medical healing is rooted in the understanding of how nature works. It gives a boost to the systems for healing that we already have within us, clearing away road blocks to restore health, and does some things that nature does not have the ability to do on its own. Medicine itself has no ultimate power. All medicine can do at its very best is to delay death's inevitable arrival. Even medicine's ability to delay death is a great gift from God".


     On the other hand, "Western civilization has gotten even most Christians to look at medical science as their only source of healing. Faith healing is not there to replace medicine or the body's healing processes. When the Bible speaks of healing, it is speaking of God stepping in to bring about healing by divine power rather than mere medicine. The natural processes obey God's command rather than operate as they normally do. Miracles show who's really in charge". 

     Spirithome.com warns hard against the belief that failure to be healed is caused by a 'supposed lack of faith'. "Healing is a divine mystery and the gifts (of healing) are measured according to the Kingdom's standard, not our standard, and  are given entirely for God's purposes". They added, "The sick person has a part to play in healing--taking preventive measures, physical conditioning and quitting smoking, etc." Actually, I do believe that it is our responsibility to take preventive measures like eating healthy foods, taking our vitamins, exercising, so we can keep our 'temple', which is God's, healthy. "The idea of automatic blessing is presumption, not faith", says Spirithome.com.  

     I believe that  it is God's will for us to be healthy and enjoy long life here on earth so we can fulfill the purposes He assigned to us; that as we trust in God's word that "by the stripes of Jesus, we were healed", indeed we are healed today, blessed by divine health or by medicine or treatment which God, Himself, anoint.  Therefore, I also truly believe that it is every Christian's responsibility to use every endeavor to heal himself.

      

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